Pride | love transcends gender

Romantic relationships are often a challenge. When the people involved are from different cultures, the level of complexity can be even greater. What about couples consisting of a trans or non-binary person and a cisgender person (whose gender corresponds to the sex assigned at birth)?

Posted at 7:32

Samuel Larochelle

Samuel Larochelle
special collaboration

Identifying as non-binary and having no gender preference in her relationships, Laura Doyle-Péan, however, struggles to imagine herself in the long term with a cisgender man. “It’s not the idea of ​​being with someone that stops me, but being with someone who has a patriarchal attitude and who doesn’t understand the questions of privilege and oppression”, explains Laura.

“With Zahur, I was surprised at first that it lasted, but we have a mutual understanding of the dynamics of power and the desire to deconstruct it. »

Her partner does not feel that their non-traditional couple needs accommodation.


PHOTO COURTESY OF ZAHUR ASHRAFUZZAMAN AND LAURA DOYLE-PÉAN

Zahur Ashrafuzzaman and Laura Doyle-Péan

“We knew each other for years before we got together. I already know which pronouns to use. Since we mainly speak English, it is easier to find non-gendered terms than in French,” Zahur explained.

However, he questioned his sexual orientation.

I see myself as a heterosexual cisgender man because I am attracted to a non-binary person, a different gender from mine, he explains. Some people say it makes me gay or queer. If so, I am also comfortable.

Zahur Ashrafuzzaman

Couple in transition

Alexandre Bédard and Roxane Orsini also questioned their sexual orientation when Alexandre began his gender transition. “At first we were a gay couple, but when we moved in, I wondered if I was straight,” recalls Alexandre.

“Roxane positions herself as pansexual, and I realize that I can also love a trans person, a cisgender man or woman, or a non-binary person. My perspective is no longer the same as couple. »


PHOTO COURTESY OF ALEXANDRE BÉDARD AND ROXANE ORSINI

Roxane Orsini and Alexandre Bedard

In fact, their unity was influenced by the transition. “Every day, I have to mention that I don’t have a blonde anymore, but I only have one person with me, explained Roxane. Since we had a child, someone asked me what the father looked like and I told them that Alexandre was the father, even though he was not the donor. »

He also allows himself to revert to Alexandre when he uses pronouns or feminine chords as before.

“At first, when I made a mistake, I was afraid of what it meant about my identity. However, I have been talking about myself as a woman for 30 years. The fact that Roxane was good at it made me feel validated. »

Alexander’s hormone intake also changed his fur, his smell, his skin, his clothing style, his taste in food and his emotions.

In the beginning, I recognized myself again. I’m more egocentric, therefore less focused on my relationship. Roxane had to accept that I was temporarily unavailable for her.

Alexandre Bedard

Their intimacy changed. “As the body changes, the sensations are different,” he added. I never touched myself the same way again. You have to be open to doing things differently and naming things. Even “I love you” is not what it used to be. “My voice changed, so we adapted. When I cried in his arms, I didn’t know my voice. I feel like a neighbor crying. »

Roxane always supported Alexandre. And don’t tell him to praise him. “When he told me about his desire to move, I wondered if I was ready to get on board and face prejudice. I did not stay by sacrifice, but because I love. Our couple works. »

Educate society

We can still argue that their couple is a model of openness. “We have a common desire to educate people without making them feel invalidated in their ways of speaking,” Roxane said. I try to approach everything with humor. We are very open to questions and we do not want to argue. »

As such, the duo must always be released in the presence of people who do not know their truth and the right terms.

If someone who doesn’t navigate LGBTQ+ communities uses a bad word, I might react internally, but I won’t take it back to prevent them from asking more questions. .

Alexandre Bedard

On Laura and Zahur’s side, the dynamic of unknown people is more or less problematic. “I think it’s because of the fact that I always wear clothes that are coded as feminine,” says Laura. People who don’t know me call me a cis woman. »

Therefore, in public, their couple is considered heterosexual. “I’m still not used to that. Especially since I have no patience for straight couples who express their affection in public without regard for the privilege of being able to do so without fear of reprisals like the bad guys. »

Alexandre, for his part, calls himself “sir” since the fourth month of his testosterone intake. That’s why people don’t know he’s trans. “In cisnormative and heteronormative society, we don’t want to say that Alex is trans,” Roxane explained. But in LGBTQ+ communities, we want to put it out there to be validated. We are like half of two chairs. »

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